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State sticks to its support of port deepening project

POSTED: March 10, 2014 7:14 p.m.

March 3 marked the 30th legislative day of the 2014 session. Any bill that has not been passed by either the House or Senate by the end of this crossover day has little chance of becoming law this year.

We worked into Monday night to ensure that more than 60 pieces of legislation would be considered by the Georgia House.

One of the most important bills considered by the House on Crossover Day was House Bill 885, which would increase treatment options for children suffering from seizure disorders. HB 885 would tightly restrict and regulate the distribution of cannabidiol, an oil-based derivative of the cannabis plant.

The derivative would only be available through medical trial at one of five Georgia academic research centers and prescribed by medical doctors. The House overwhelmingly supported the benefits of this medical solution.

Personally knowing several young people who will benefit from this product underlines the importance of this legislation I was proud to support it.

We also passed HB 958 that establishes Aug. 1-2, 2014, as a tax holiday for back-to-school shoppers. Not only does this tax break provide financial relief for parents, it also encourages shoppers to do business in the state of Georgia — especially important as we compete with South Carolina for these dollars.

Other measures in the bill give job-creating tax incentives to video game developers and developers of big, regionally-important projects.

Finally on Crossover Day, we voted on legislation that would create new monuments at the State Capitol. House Bill 702 would prominently place a monument of the 10 Commandments, U.S. Constitution, and Georgia Constitution at the State Capitol to celebrate the ideals and values that these documents represent.

Similarly, House Bill 1080 would place a monument of Martin Luther King Jr. at the State Capitol in honor of his significant role in the history of Georgia and America. All of these monuments will be funded by private donations. Many Georgians come to the State Capitol to tour and learn about the history of our state, and these two monuments will be great additions to our Capitol grounds.

We also received some news related to the deepening of the Port of Savannah. Last week, the Obama administration’s 2015 fiscal year budget request was released, and it only appropriated $1.62 million for pre-construction, not the construction funds all of us were expecting.

This news was disappointing, as the deepening requires $400 million from the federal government to be designated to the project over the next few years.

Georgia alone has reserved $231 million to go toward the port, and we are budgeting for another $35 million this year. Georgia has remained committed to appropriating funds to the deepening of the Port of Savannah and I’m disappointed that the federal government is not doing the same. Not only will the port bring business and prosperity to southeast Georgia, it also benefits our entire state.

Understanding the importance of this project, Governor Deal announced plans to move forward with the project despite this setback. I support Governor Deal’s decision to move forward with the port deepening project.

As we think through tough issues in the last days of session, I hope that you will contact me to express your ideas and opinions. Please also let me know if you have any comments or questions regarding issues facing our great state. Your comments are always welcome and are important to me. You can reach me at my Capitol office at (404) 656-5099 or by email at

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.


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